Common Name: Reverse Alocasia, African Mask, Elephant Ears
Botanical Name: Alocasia reversa
There's no backing up from here as we go underway; we are talking full throttle on the Elephant Ear express with Alocasia reversa. This revved-up and everywhere-to-go indoor plant shimmer with silver leaves and dark mid-tones deep in its crevices. This exotic alocasia may need a little maintenance from you to keep it in ship shape (Who doesn't!). Learn how to properly care for Alocasia reversa!
Elephant Ears are adaptable and can handle a range of light from low to bright indirect. The amount of light the plant receives will dictate how quickly it grows. If you want your plant to push out new leaves actively and produce the large leaves it is known for, then make sure the Elephant Ears are in a spot where it can receive plenty of bright indirect light. The plant will survive but not grow as quickly when placed in an area with lower light levels. If you bring your Alocasia reversa outdoors in the warmer months, place it in a spot that receives partial shade. Direct sunlight will burn the leaves.
Water Alocasia reversa plants when the top couple of inches of the soil is dry. Alocasias have medium water requirements, meaning they need evenly consistent moisture, but they do not like to have continually soggy soil. Cut back on watering during the colder months if the plant is not actively growing.
All Alocasia species love loose nutrient-rich potting soil. Use a soil medium that can retain moisture but also allows for draining excess water to avoid root rot. Most pre-mixed soils will suffice. Make sure that there is plenty of organic matter, like coco-coir, peat moss, or shredded leaves, and avoid soils that contain moisture retaining crystals. If your soil drains too quickly, we recommend re-potting your Alocasia reversa into a compost-rich soil mixture with fewer drainage materials. Learn how to create your own universal soil mixture for all your indoor plants!
As a subtropical plant, African Mask prefers warmer temperatures more in line with their native environment. Average room temperatures above 60°F will be perfectly adequate! If you place your Alocasia reversa on a patio or outdoor area during the warmer months, then make sure to bring it back inside well before the temperatures drop below 50°F. Avoid placing the plant near an exterior door, drafty window, or in front of an air conditioning or heating vent. These temperature fluctuations can inhibit growth and potentially damage the leaves. Keep in mind, Alocasia reversa will go dormant in the colder months. Although they may not lose all their leaves, they will stop growing and should be kept in slightly lower temperatures to enjoy their downtime!
Alocasia reversas thrive when they receive lots of humidity which makes sense given their subtropical origins. Placing the houseplant in an area with high humidity is ideal. If you live in a drier climate or just don't have an area with enough humidity, then consider using a humidifier or a pebble tray with water. These options can help give these plants the extra boost of dampness they crave. Learn how to increase the humidity for your Alocasia reversa and other indoor plants!
Routine fertilizing, especially when the houseplant is actively growing, can help these plants push out new growth. Varieties known for exceptionally large leaves can benefit from feedings. A diluted complete liquid fertilizer, a fish/seaweed emulsion, or a slow-release fertilizer are all excellent choices for Alocasia reversa. Alternatively, you can top dress the soil with organic compost or worm castings to provide them with a slow and steady supply of nutrients throughout the growing season. Do not fertilize your Alocasia reversa when the plant is dormant. Learn all about how to fertilize your indoor plants!
Alocasia reversa is a fast grower during the warm months once its roots are established. They will fill out horizontally but will rarely exceed 19” in height when grown indoors. These are perfect for areas with limited space, and indirect light!
Pet Friend or Foe
Alocasia reversa is toxic to pets! Foe!
- Rotate the pot a quarter turn every time you water your Alocasia reversa. This will ensure the plant receives even sunlight and prevent it from growing towards the light and becoming top-heavy.
- Alocasia reversa likes to be a bit root bound, so there is seldom an urgent need to re-pot. However, these indoor plants tend to outgrow their pots since they can be fast growers. When it's time to re-pot your Alocasia reversa, select a pot that is 1-2" larger than the current pot or carefully separate the roots to divide the plant and re-pot into multiple containers. Routinely dividing the plant can help keep it at a more manageable size if space is limited.
- Alocasias have a rhizome-type root system. These thick roots will store extra water for the plant. The nodes are located on the roots; therefore, to propagate an Alocasia reversa, remove a section of the root and plant it in the soil. A new plant will sprout from the rhizome with enough time and the right conditions.
- Find out the do’s and don’ts for your new indoor plants!
- Alocasia can attract mealy bugs and other pests, and the best way to control any pest problems is to use organic methods such as neem oil. Learn how to use neem oil to protect your houseplants from pests!